Personal Branding 101: Focus on What You Do Best
Arguably the most important principle to keep in mind when you’re developing your personal brand is focus. It’s easy to lose focus and end up watering down your brand—and that’s a mistake you can’t allow yourself to make.
An effective brand is focused on a few traits or qualities. When you think Rolex, you think “expensive, high quality timepiece.” If Rolex sold twenty dollar watches, their brand would be destroyed. Imagine the impact on the Harley-Davidson brand if they began selling cars, bicycles and mopeds. Or imagine if McDonalds began selling thirty dollar steaks. Pretty soon, the golden arches wouldn’t stand for anything. The key to a strong brand is focus… and that goes for your personal brand as well.
Each interaction that you have is an opportunity to broadcast your personal brand—and that means you have many, many opportunities on a daily basis to stray from the core of your brand. If you’re trying to brand yourself as cheerful and upbeat, you can’t allow yourself to be harsh or negative within earshot of a patient—even on your worst day. And if the aim is to be seen as successful, sophisticated and exclusive, your lobby should be decorated accordingly! Cheap lamps that you found at a garage sale simply won’t cut it in your situation. Stay focused on your message and don’t contradict the brand you are trying to build!
For many, the toughest part of establishing a personal brand is the realization that they can’t be everything to everyone. Just as McDonalds would destroy its brand by offering expensive steak and seafood, you’ll destroy your brand if you try to please everyone. You can’t be both the elite expert and the affordable service provider. In addition, it’s important to identify your specialties and focus on building your brand around them. You may feel like you are limiting yourself by choosing a small number of specialties—but if you don’t, what will you be known for? It may seem appealing to be known as a jack-of-all-trades, but when a prospective client is looking for help, they aren’t going to think of the professional who is “good at everything.” Instead they will look for the expert in their specific area of need. It’s great that you’re multitalented and knowledgeable in a variety of different areas—but if you want to establish yourself as an expert in anything, you need to limit your expertise to a few areas.
As we kick off the New Year, make a commitment to yourself that you will work to focus your branding efforts in 2013. Doing this consistently will begin to establish you as a leading expert in your particular area of expertise. If you’d like to learn more on this subject, or if you’d like some help along the way, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me today!